The National Judicial Council has recommended the compulsory retirement of two judicial officers, the Grand Kadi of Yobe State, Shu’aibu Talba, and Justice Abdulkareem Babatunde Abdulrasaq of Osun State High Court, for alleged age falsification.
The NJC’s Director, Information, Mr Soji Oye, stated in a statement on Sunday that the council took its decision at its 93rd meeting held virtually on December 16, 2020.
He stated that the council’s findings showed that by their real ages, Grand Kadi Talba ought to have retired in February 2020, and Justice Abdulrasaq ought to have retired in September 2020.
He added the council “has” in the exercise of its constitutional disciplinary powers “suspended Hon. Grand Kadi Talba and Hon. Justice Abdul-Kareem Babatunde Abdulrasaq from office pending the approval of the recommendation of their compulsory retirements by their respective governors”.
He also stated that the council requested the governors of their respective states to deduct from their gratuities, the cumulative salaries they had received from when they ought to have retired till date.
The statement noted that “Grand Kadi Shu’aibu Talba was recommended for compulsory retirement following an investigation into a petition against him written by one Malam Zakar Adamu, Chairman, Movement for Justice in Nigeria, alleging that His Lordship falsified his age on two occasions, i.e. from February 1, 1955 to August 27, 1955 and later to December 30, 1959.”
It added, “Findings revealed that he was supposed to have retired on February 1, 2020 by virtue of his declared date of birth of February 1, 1955.
“Council, after deliberation, decided to recommend His Lordship’s compulsory retirement to Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State.
“Furthermore, Council requested the Government of Yobe State to deduct all salaries received by His Lordship from February 1, 2020 till date, from his gratuity, and remit same to the National Judicial Council that pays salaries of all judicial officers in the federation”.
For Justice Abdulrasaq, Oye stated that the council “considered a petition by Chief Yomi Alliyu, SAN, and found merit in his allegation against Hon. Justice Abdul-Kareem Babatunde Abdulrasaq that His Lordship falsified his date of birth from September 3, 1955 to September 3, 1957.”
The statement also stated, “Council, therefore, recommended His Lordship’s compulsory retirement to Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State with effect from September 3, 2020. It also requested the Osun State Government to deduct from His Lordship gratuity, salaries received by him from September 3, 2020, and remit same to the National Judicial Council.”
The statement added that the NJC considered the reports of its two Preliminary Complaints Assessment Committees and adopted the recommendations to dismiss 18 petitions against 14 judicial officers.
They include four judges of the Federal High Court, Justices Simon A. Amobeda, Taiwo O. Taiwo, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, and Justice R. O. Dugbo Oghoghorie.
They also include Justices T. O. Uloho and Michael N. Obi of the Delta State High Court, and Justice G. M. Onyeabo of Lagos State High Court.
Among others against whom petitions were dismissed are, the Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice A. I. Iyayi-Lamikanra, as well as Justice A. U. Kingsley-Chuku, Justice J. N. Ukpugwnum.
The rest are the Chief Judge of Taraba State, Justice F. B. Andetur, Chief Judge, Justice Comfort Ani of the Enugu State High Court, Justice M. A. Pindiga of the Gombe State High Court, and Justice M. M. Umar of the Kebbi State High Court.
The statement added that the council considered and adopted the report of the Interview Committee recommending the appointment of 69 judicial officers as heads of court, judges of High Court of states, Kadis of States/FCT Sharia Courts of Appeal and Judges of the Customary Courts of Appeal.
It added, “In another development, Council also received and approved the Report of its Committee on Appointments, Promotion and Discipline which recommended the promotion of 70 members of Staff of the National Judicial Council.
“The notifications of retirement of 12 judicial officers and notifications of death of three judges of federal and state courts were also received and noted by the council.”